What is it about?

In this article, we explore how ideas about spiritual power, words, and silence shape religion and witchcraft among the rural Komi people, whose predominant religion is Russian Orthodoxy. During our joint ethnographic fieldwork trips to the Komi Republic, Russia, we discussed faith and magic with the Russian Orthodox people and Evangelical Protestants who established their mission in a village of local witches. Our analysis shows that ideas about magical power and the usage of words constitute significant aspects of understanding faith regardless of formal denominational belonging.

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Why is it important?

We demonstrate how religion works in remote regions of the Russian North where the presence of religious institutions is rather weak. This enables people's ideas to flourish quite freely, and we can demonstrate genuine diversity of popular spiritual ideas.


This study indicates that imagining religion by the Komi people is really fantastic.

Art Leete
University of Tartu

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Spiritual Power, Witchcraft and Protestants: Conflicting Approaches to Religious Belonging and Practice in the Komi Countryside, Numen, August 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15685276-12341666.
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